Rainiers Easing Beckham Back

June 16, 2017

Infielder Gordon Beckham was activated from the disabled list by Tacoma on Wednesday, but it’s going to be a little while before he is able to play full games.

The established major leaguer has been out since April 23 with a hamstring problem. He was sent to the Mariners complex in Peoria, Arizona to rest and rehabilitate the injury.

Now he’s back with Tacoma, but he is not yet in game shape. The Mariners medical staff has outlined a strict progression for how much he can play in games as he regains his strength.

For Beckham’s first game on Wednesday, Rainiers manager Pat Listach was instructed to start him at designated hitter and give him two at-bats.

Yesterday, Beckham was scheduled to play three innings at second base. Listach hit him in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, so he would (probably) get two plate appearances.

His playing time will be regimented like this for the next several days.

Normally this type of progression is done at the Arizona complex, in extended spring training games or Arizona Rookie League contests. But at this particular moment of the summer (between the draft and the start of the Arizona Rookie League on June 24) there are no games at the Peoria complex for Beckham to play limited innings in. As a result, he’ll ease into playing shape with Tacoma.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers couldn’t get the bats going, managing just five hits against Zach Lee and three El Paso relievers in a 5-1 loss.

Today: Tacoma (35-30) at El Paso (33-34), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 6-5.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Dillon Overton (1-1, 8.22) at RHP Matt Magill (3-4, 4.11).

Hot Rainiers: D.J. Peterson is 15-for-31 over his last nine games, with three homers, and he has reached base safely in 20 of his last 22 games… Leonys Martin has a five-game hitting streak, and he is 5-for-11 in the El Paso series.

Look Out For: Former Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash has hit six homers in his last eight games… Rafael Ortega has a 12-game hitting streak, and he belted a leadoff homer in the first inning Tuesday… Nick Buss has an eight-game hitting streak.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: El Paso outfielder Jabari Blash and pitchers Logan Bawcom, Carter Capps, and Zach Lee are all former Rainiers… El Paso pitcher Adam Cimber graduated from Puyallup High School in 2009, and attended UW for three years before transferring to the University of San Francisco for his senior year.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

Tomorrow’s blog situation is… tenuous. We’re travelling all day – starting with a 3:00 AM wakeup call – and arriving just in time for the Felix Hernandez start at Cheney Stadium. I’ll at least try to get the Rainiers Round-Up posted, but that might be it.


All-Star Staffs Announced

June 15, 2017

The on-field personnel for the Triple-A All-Star Game was announced today, by the respective league offices. We’re hosting the game at Cheney Stadium on Wednesday, July 12.

Pacific Coast League:

  • Manager: Tony DeFrancesco, Fresno
  • Pitching Coach: Rick Rodriguez, Nashville
  • Hitting Coach: Jack Voigt, Las Vegas
  • Trainers: Tom Newberg and Ben Clawson, Tacoma

International League:

  • Manager: Al Pedrique, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
  • Pitching Coach: Jeff Fassero, Louisville
  • Hitting Coach: Jared Sandberg, Durham
  • Trainer: Larry Bennese, Rochester

We’ve got the winningest manager in modern PCL history leading the team, with a nod to the Sacramento dynasty of the 2000s by pairing DeFrancesco with Rich Rodriguez. That duo won six division titles and three PCL championships together while with Sacramento.

The IL staff has local connections. Pedrique, a former infielder, played for the Tacoma Tigers for the entire 1990 season. Fassero is a former Mariners pitcher (1997-1999). Sandberg is from Olympia and is a 1996 graduate of Capital High School.

And congratulations to the Tacoma athletic trainers, who will work the game. It’s Newberg’s second PCL All-Star nod.

Yesterday my guest on the radio pregame show was El Paso broadcaster Tim Hagerty, who doubles as a historian of wacky occurrences in minor league baseball.

After we recorded the interview, he told me about his most recent published story: a piece for the Hardball Times about a fly ball that never landed in a Double-A game in 1978.

Batter hits a fly ball, and it didn’t land. It just disappeared.

The players in the game never forgot it – including two Hall of Famers. The umpires met up and decided to call it a double. The ball was never found.

Read this bizarre tale right here.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers lost a tumultuous game in El Paso, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie it 6-6, only to lose on Carlos Asuaje‘s two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Mariners called up Chase De Jong, and optioned Casey Lawrence to Tacoma (Lawrence will report Saturday). The Rainiers activated Gordon Beckham (hamstring) from the disabled list, and will be easing him back to full strength.

Today: Tacoma (35-29) at El Paso (32-34), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tied, 5-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Andrew Moore (3-0, 2.79) at RHP Zach Lee (1-1, 6.05).

Hot Rainiers: D.J. Peterson is 15-for-29 over his last eight games, with three homers, and he has reached base safely in 19 of his last 21 games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in 13 straight games… Leonys Martin has a four-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Former Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash has homered in four straight games for El Paso, driving in ten runs… Rafael Ortega has an 11-game hitting streak, and he belted a leadoff homer in the first inning Tuesday… Nick Buss has a seven-game hitting streak.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: El Paso outfielder Jabari Blash and pitchers Logan Bawcom, Carter Capps, and Zach Lee are all former Rainiers… El Paso pitcher Adam Cimber graduated from Puyallup High School in 2009, and attended UW for three years before transferring to the University of San Francisco for his senior year.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Reno scored four early runs and won in Salt Lake City, 5-3. The Aces have built a five-game lead over Tacoma in the Pac-North.
  • Fresh off a team meeting, Albuquerque took down Fresno, 7-3. In the story we learn that Fresno star Derek Fisher was dining at the Albuquerque Waffle House when he received news of his promotion. I think everyone in the PCL has eaten at that Waffle House. In fact, I wish I could go there right now.
  • Justin Ruggiano‘s three-run homer helped Sacramento win in Las Vegas, 5-4.
  • Oklahoma City’s Wilmer Font continues to pile up the strikeouts. The PCL leader had seven more K’s in a 10-3 win over Omaha on Wednesday.
  • Memphis – the “homer happy Redbirds” – hit six home runs in a 10-4 win over Colorado Springs at Autozone Park.
  • New Orleans scored five runs in the fifth inning and that was all the Baby Cakes needed to beat Round Rock, 5-3.
  • Nashville had homers from Matt Olson and Mark Canha in a 6-1 win over Iowa.

Rainiers Look To Even Score With Chihuahuas

June 14, 2017

Tacoma came out kind of flat in the series opener at El Paso, dropping a 3-1 decision on Tuesday night.

The pitching was very good, but the offense couldn’t get it going in one of the best hitting environments in the PCL.

Red-hot Rainiers infielder D.J. Peterson left the game after striking out in the top of the fourth inning, his second at-bat of the day. He felt a muscle tighten up and was removed from the game. It’s not thought to be serious and there is a chance he may be back in the lineup today.

Tacoma starts Tyler Cloyd in the second game of the series tonight. Cloyd has been terrific in four starts for Tacoma, posting a 1.10 ERA, but he hasn’t pitched much lately. He’s worked just one inning since May 28, in relief for Seattle on June 9. He should be raring to go tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: We had a rare low-scoring game at El Paso’s Southwest University Park, with the Chihuahuas winning 3-1. Tacoma starter Rob Whalen pitched six innings and allowed three runs – and in El Paso, that’s a really good start and usually nets a win. But not yesterday. The Rainiers offense was shut down by El Paso’s Andre Rienzo.

Roster Moves: The Mariners will surely make a roster move to add pitching after yesterday’s 20-7 loss, so stay tuned.

Today: Tacoma (35-28) at El Paso (31-34), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-4.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 1.10) at RHP Bryan Rodriguez (1-4, 4.94).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler O’Neill saw his eight-game hitting streak end last night… D.J. Peterson is 13-for-26 over his last seven games, with three homers, and he has reached base safely in 18 of his last 20 games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in 12 straight games.

Look Out For: Former Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash has homered in three straight games for El Paso, driving in eight runs… Rafael Ortega has a ten-game hitting streak, and he belted a leadoff homer in the first inning yesterday… Rocky Gale and Nick Buss each have six-game hitting streaks.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: El Paso outfielder Jabari Blash and pitchers Logan Bawcom, Carter Capps, and Zach Lee are all former Rainiers… El Paso pitcher Adam Cimber graduated from Puyallup High School in 2009, and attended UW for three years before transferring to the University of San Francisco for his senior year.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:


D.J. Peterson Heats Up

June 13, 2017

Tacoma corner infielder D.J. Peterson has been on a hot streak for a while, and now he takes his bat to El Paso with the rest of the Rainiers for a four-game series.

Peterson has homered in three straight games and has 13 hits during a six-game hitting streak, boosting his season totals to .264-9-36 in 59 games. He’s raised his OPS to .743 for the year.

D.J. got off to a slow start this year, but now he’s clicking. He’s hitting .341 in the month of June, and he has reached base safely in 18 of his last 19 games.

Even when he was struggling earlier in the year, he still managed to belt a pair of homers on the team’s first trip to El Paso. Perhaps he’ll continue the home run streak tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Felix Hernandez was terrific on Sunday, retiring 14 straight batters to open the game and lead the Rainiers to a 5-3 victory over Las Vegas. The Rainiers took two of the three games against Las Vegas, and have won three of the last four games overall.

Roster Moves: Outfielder Boog Powell rejoined the Rainiers on Sunday, when the Mariners activated Mitch Haniger from the disabled list. The Rainiers have transferred outfielder Brayan Hernandez to Everett, and activated LHP Kyle Hunter from the disabled list.

Today: Tacoma (35-27) at El Paso (30-34), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rob Whalen (0-3, 5.18) at RHP Andre Rienzo (2-0, 2.60).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler O’Neill has an eight-game hitting streak… D.J. Peterson is 13-for-24 over his last six games, has homered in three straight games, and he has reached base safely in 18 of his last 19 games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in 11 straight games.

Look Out For: Former Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash has homered in three straight games for El Paso, driving in eight runs… Rafael Ortega has a nine-game hitting streak… Carlos Asuaje has reached base safely in 18 straight games.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: El Paso outfielder Jabari Blash and pitchers Logan Bawcom, Carter Capps, and Zach Lee are all former Rainiers… El Paso pitcher Adam Cimber graduated from Puyallup High School in 2009, and attended UW for three years before transferring to the University of San Francisco for his senior year.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

The entire PCL was off yesterday, but a few notes:

  • The El Paso Times has a feature on rehabilitating Padres reliever Carter Capps, who once pitched for Tacoma and Seattle. We’ll see him in this series. The Chihuahuas lost their last two games against Fresno, including an 11-5 decision on Sunday.
  • Reno won on Sunday in Sacramento to remain four games ahead of Tacoma in the Pacific-North standings. The Aces open a four-game series at Salt Lake tonight.

Felix Pitches For Tacoma Again Today

June 11, 2017

We’ve got another Felix Hernandez rehabilitation start at Cheney Stadium today, as he continues in his bid to return from shoulder bursitis.

Hernandez is set to throw roughly 65 pitches today, and hopefully he’ll have better command than he did on Tuesday when he looked, well, exactly like a pitcher who hadn’t pitched in a game of any kind in six weeks.

The Mariners said yesterday that they are slowing down Felix’s recovery process, and that he will have a third rehab start later this coming week. Whether that will be in Everett on Friday or Tacoma on Saturday is unknown at this time – and may not be determined until we see how Felix feels coming out of today’s game.

Hopefully he has a good one today. The Mariners are playing fun baseball right now, and it would be great to see Felix return to their rotation.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Josh Rodriguez of Las Vegas had a huge game, hitting two homers and a double in a 5-4 win over Tacoma on Saturday night. His solo blast in the second inning ended Tacoma’s shutout innings streak at 21.1, and his two-run shot in the sixth inning gave Vegas the lead. Today we have the ‘rubber match’ (whatever that means) of the three-game series.

Roster Move: Prior to Saturday’s game the Mariners called up reliever Emilio Pagan, and optioned Tyler Cloyd to Tacoma. Cloyd’s workload is being monitored as he recovers from elbow surgery and it is more sensible to do that in the Triple-A rotation.

Today: Las Vegas (25-38) at Tacoma (34-27), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rafael Montero (0-1, 1.57) at RHP Felix Hernandez (0-0, 22.50).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler O’Neill has an eight-game hitting streak… D.J. Peterson is 10-for-21 over his last five games, and he has reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in ten straight games.

Look Out For: Las Vegas has two 21-year-old prospects to watch this weekend. Shortstop Amed Rosario is rated as one of the top five prospects in all of minor league baseball, and he has reached base in 27 straight games… first baseman Dominic Smith is the other 21-year-old, and he has a seven-game hitting streak going 12-for-29 during it.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth and calls the middle innings.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

The Rainiers are off on Monday and will spend the day flying to El Paso. We’ll take a blog day off, too. Next update will come early Tuesday afternoon.


Rainiers Pitch Another Shutout

June 10, 2017

Tacoma shut out Las Vegas in the series opener on Friday night, winning 9-0 on a wet evening at Cheney Stadium.

It was the second straight shutout for the Tacoma pitching staff, which has now tossed 20 consecutive scoreless innings. The Rainiers pitched back-to-back shutouts last May at Round Rock (Donn Roach and Joe Wieland made the starts), but hadn’t done it at home since June of 2013 (a Taijuan Walker/Danny Hultzen production).

Last night Andrew Moore went the first 5.1 innings, striking out eight. Reliever Ryan Kelly got the final two outs in the sixth inning, striking out both batters he faced. Then Cody Martin came in and held Las Vegas scoreless over the final three frames to finish the shutout.

Tacoma has pitched a PCL-leading ten shutouts this year, three more than second-best Nashville. Amazingly, ten of the Rainiers 34 wins have come via shutout.

It’s pretty incredible how fortunes can change so quickly in baseball. Earlier this week it seemed like Tacoma pitchers couldn’t get anybody in the Reno lineup out, and now we’re talking about back-to-back shutouts.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The wait was worth it. After a 1 hour, 29 minute rain delay prior to first pitch, the Rainiers took the field at Cheney Stadium and wiped out Las Vegas, 9-0. D.J. Peterson and Mitch Haniger homered, Andrew Aplin hit a three-run triple, and three pitchers combined on a seven-hit shutout.

Today: Las Vegas (24-38) at Tacoma (34-26), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Sean Gilmartin (1-2, 7.31) at LHP Dillon Overton (1-1, 9.68).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler O’Neill has a seven-game hitting streak… D.J. Peterson is 8-for-16 over his last four games, and he has reached base safely in 16 of his last 17 games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in nine straight games.

Look Out For: Las Vegas has two 21-year-old prospects to watch this weekend. Shortstop Amed Rosario is rated as one of the top five prospects in all of minor league baseball, and he has reached base in 26 straight games coming into the series… first baseman Dominic Smith is the other 21-year-old, and he has a six-game hitting streak going 11-for-25 during it.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:


Haniger Helps Rainiers Walk Off

June 9, 2017

Tacoma salvaged the final game of the four-game series against first place Reno on Thursday night, picking up a 1-0 win in 11 innings.

The Rainiers won it when rehabilitating Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the only run of the game.

Now a walk-off-walk may not sound that exciting, but the way it happened was impressive.

Reno reliever Matt Stites was on the mound, and he had just struck out Mr. Clutch Zach Shank with the bases loaded for the first out of the inning.

Stites got ahead of Haniger very quickly, no balls and two strikes. That’s when Haniger went to work: he fouled off the close pitches, took some offspeed pitches down low, and eventually got to a full count.

On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, Haniger took Ball Four and the Rainiers had the win.

It was a plate appearance which highlighted Haniger’s skills in the batter’s box. We’ll probably have him for one more game today, and if all goes well I suspect the Mariners will activate him from the disabled list on Saturday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers pitched their ninth shutout of the year, holding Reno scoreless for 11 innings in a 1-0 win on Thursday night. Tacoma avoided being swept and pulled within four games of first place Reno.

Today: Las Vegas (24-37) at Tacoma (33-26), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Ricky Knapp (2-6, 5.24) at RHP Andrew Moore (2-0, 3.19).

Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin has hit safely in 20 of his last 24 games… Tyler O’Neill has a six-game hitting streak… D.J. Peterson is 6-for-13 over his last three games, and he has reached base safely in 15 of his last 16 games.

Look Out For: Las Vegas has two 21-year-old prospects to watch this weekend. Shortstop Amed Rosario is rated as one of the top five prospects in all of minor league baseball, and he has reached base in 25 straight games coming into the series… first baseman Dominic Smith is the other 21-year-old, and he has a five-game hitting streak going 10-for-21 during it.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Las Vegas has one former Rainiers and Mariners pitcher: Blake Beavan, who pitched for Tacoma and Seattle from 2010 to 2014.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports: